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Recycling and Permaculture

Recycling and Permaculture

10 Tips to Improve Your Recycling

One of the core ethos of permaculture is the care of the earth. Recycling and preserving our natural resources is a big component of this. Beyond being earth friendly, there are economical and community benefits to recycling, like job creation and energy reduction. There are also many challenges that limit the amount of goods that are being recycled, like a misunderstanding of what can be recycled and the recycling infrastructure not keeping pace with the quantity of waste being produced or accommodating for new recyclable materials. Follow these 10 tips to improve your recycling skills.

  1. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle are listed out in order of importance. Focus first on reducing the amount of waste your produce, like by avoiding packaged foods, or carrying a reusable water bottle. Next, see what you can repurpose before you discard it. Finally recycle what you can. While recycling is great, it’s best to work more on being aware of the waste you produce.
  2. Know the dos and don’ts of recycling. Research what items can be recycled in your area. It is important to also ensure your recyclables are clean and sorted appropriately. Not doing so can slow down the recycling process, or cause recyclable materials to be sent to the landfill. Visit https://americarecyclesday.org/find-recycling/ to see what materials you can recycle locally.
  3. Buy recycled items to help feed the loop and support the sales of recycled goods. Recycled materials are made into everything from office paper to clothing.
  4. Encourage the use of trash in art. Many artists make art from recycled materials, from school-aged to professional. Support this by donating supplies, or purchasing these pieces of art.
  5. Recycle your water through rainwater collection of a greywater system where your water from washing your hands, or showering is reused to flush your toilet or water your yard (provided you use biodegradable soap).
  6. Recycle your greenery through composting. Leaves, grass clipping, vegetable and fruit peelings, coffee grounds, and egg shells are all great materials for compost. More active compost heaps can even compost newspapers and paper napkins.
  7. Recycle your electronics through programs that allow you to donate your old electronics to be refurbished and reused, or sent to be recycled.
  8. Be a conscientious shopper. In addition to buying recycled goods, keep in mind what can be recycled when making a purchase. Can the packaging be reused our recycled? What can you do with the item when it breaks or you no longer have a need for it? What is the longevity of what you are buying?
  9. If you don’t love something, let it go. Donate to local charities that have a use for your old clothing, furniture, and household items. Make a rule in your house that nothing goes in the trash until you’ve given the community a fair shot at it. Many thrift stores offer fabric recycling for clothes that are torn or stained.
  10. Audit the amount of waste that is coming in and leaving your home or office over the course of a week or month, then design a material recovery program to minimize what ends up in the landfill.

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